In the 1970s, the United States Army concluded that the militarized civilian trucks in use no longer satisfied their requirements. In 1977, Lamborghini developed the Cheetah model in an attempt to meet the Army contract specifications. In 1979, the Army drafted final specifications for a High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle, or HMMWV. In July of that year, AM General (a subsidiary of American Motors Corporation) began preliminary design work, and less than a year later, the first prototype, the M998, was in testing. In 1980 other vehicles had been delivered, including M1025 and M1026 models. In 1980 over 500 vehicles had been produced.
In June 1981, the Army awarded AM General a contract for development of several more prototype vehicles to be delivered to the U.S. government for another series of tests, and the company was later awarded the initial production contract for 55,000 HMMWVs to be delivered in 1985. Ft. Lewis Washington and the 9th Infantry Division was the testing unit to employ HMMWV in the new concept of a Motorized Division to counter the Russian Motorized units. Yakima Training Center; Yakima, Washington was the main testing grounds of the HMMWVs from 1985 through December 1991, when the Motorized concept abandoned and the Division Deactivated. HMMWVs first saw combat in Operation Just Cause, the US invasion of Panama in 1989.
The HMMWV has become the vehicular backbone of U.S. forces around the world. Over 10,000 were employed by coalition forces during Operation Iraqi Freedom, the 2003 invasion of Iraq.